By Claire West
Unite, Britain's biggest union, is demanding urgent talks with Marks & Spencer over the reorganisation of its distribution network which could lead to significant job losses.
Almost 300 workers are concerned about their future after DHL announced potential job losses at its M&S distribution network. Jobs at DHL's Hydepark site in Belfast, the Westfield site in Glasgow and Enfield are all at risk as the distribution network is re-organised into three mega hubs. Two of the three hubs - in Bradford and Castle Donington - are already up and running and work is slowly being migrated to these sites. The third hub is due to be set up at the London Gateway port.
Unite acknowledges and welcomes the consultation with DHL, but the union is clear that this decision is completely down to M&S. Unite has requested urgent talks with retailer over the future of its logistics network but to date the union has had no response.
Unite national officer Matt Draper said: ”I have written to M&S to express Unite's serious concerns over the impact this reorganisation could have. There is deep anxiety and uncertainty over jobs and workers are angry that there is no clarity to the proposals being made by M&S.
"While DHL has direct responsibility for the affected workers, M&S has ultimate responsibility and we will not let this company distance itself from this unpalatable situation.
"If M&S refuses to engage, our members are prepared to consider some form of action. Unite members at Hydepark have already indicated that they want an industrial action ballot. We urge M&S to agree to our repeated requests for an urgent meeting."